Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Explore Outdoors ~ Make a bird feeder

 Winter is the perfect season to watch some of the neighborhood feathery friends. One way to attract them to your yard is to hang a bird feeder. Don’t have a feeder? No problem. You can make one from things found around your home.

Here’s what you need:

  • A plastic water bottle, soda bottle, or other liquid - with lid
  • sharp scissors or a craft knife
  • 2 wooden spoons
  • wire, string, or twine for hanging
  • optional: small eye-screw
  • bird seed

 Here's what you do:

1. Take the label off the bottle. Then wash it and let it dry.

2. On the side of the bottle, not too far from the bottom, cut a semicircle arch (a bit bigger than an inch) but leave the plastic uncut at the bottom of the arch. Pull the flap out and down.

3. Push the handle of one  wooden spoon through this hole. Mark where the handle hits the opposite side of the bottle. Cut an X at that mark and push the spoon handle through. It should fit snuggly. Turn the spoon so the scoop is facing up. This is a perch where birds will find seeds.

4. Turn the bottle so that when you look at it, the wooden spoon is going from left to right. Half way up the bottle, cut another semicircle arch. Push the handle of the second wooden spin through this hole – it should cross the first spoon at a right angle (doesn’t have to be perfect).

 5. Mark where the handle hits the opposite side of the bottle. Cut an X at that mark and push the spoon handle through. Then turn the spoon so the scoop is facing up.

6. Use a funnel, or roll a piece of paper to make a funnel, to fill the bottle with bird seed. Some seed should spill out of the semicircle arches into the spoons.    

7. Put on the lid. Then tie wire or string around the top of the bottle to hang it. Option: screw an eye-screw into the lid and then put wire or string through that to hang the feeder.

8. Hang your feeder from a tree or clothesline or somewhere that birds will find it and you can watch it.

If you make two feeders, you can do an experiment. Paint the bottom part of one feeder (below the bottom spoon perch) red and the other green. Paint the lids matching colors, too. Then see if birds like one color better.

Here’s a video that shows how to make a feeder, and here are some pictures of a bottle feeder. Check out these “Make your own feeder” activities from Cornell Lab of Ornithology. At the end are some fun ways to recycle yogurt containers into bird feeders.

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